The relationship between C. H. Choe founder of Hanjin Trucking and Henry Gilbertson, executive plenipotentiary Sealand, leveraged experience in trucking, port operations and port rotation to inaugurate Hanjin Transpacific Service. The liner service called on Long Beach, Oakland and Seatle range to Incheon, Busan, Tokyo, Keelung, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong. I joined the company in 1980 and worked at their corporate office, the Bermuda Building in downtown Oakland. The liner service started with four 2500 TEU ships, all brand spanking new.
Between 1977 and 1980 the United States Justice Department broke apart the North Atlantic and Trans Pacific Carrier Conference SRO’s. The conference price regulators on the North Atlantic and Trans Pacific liner service routes did two things, they stabilized or engaged in price fixed published tariff east and westbound freight rates. Shipping Rate or affreightment by SIC code priced by the ton or linear foot the cost of carriage for all conference members. Second, it guaranteed a minimum rate of return. If a carrier marketed p-value of lucrative cargo, refer in hi-cubes, 40+5 or apples to Japan and oranges to China for the New Year, the Conference published the rate.
When NVOCC’s or non-conference vessel operators TRANSFREIGHT Line as an example, came into the market, prices went south, and carriers got squeezed. Paranoia and affreightment are ugly ducks. One is symptomatic of psychosis cured with hefty amounts of gin. The other is simple arithmetic and a scathing indictment against Hanjin Management. Always eager to please the boss, the Hanjin Container Line never got the math, 2+2=4. The equation equals four always, for all time, even in Korea. Sorry to see Hanjin go, but in the name of Neptune go, go quickly and go now.